Rape trial puts focus on India's death penalty paradox
INEW DELHI (REUTERS) - An Indian judge will announce on Friday whether four men should hang for fatally raping a young woman on a bus last December, in one of the biggest tests in years of India's paradoxical attitude towards the death penalty.
Indian judges hand down on average 130 death sentences every year, but India has executed just three people in the past 17 years. Despite its apparent reluctance to carry out the sentences, last year India voted against a United Nations draft resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions.
In November, India ended what many human rights groups had interpreted as an undeclared moratorium on capital punishment when it executed a militant convicted for the 2008 militant attack on Mumbai. Three months later, it hanged a man from the Kashmir region for a 2001 militant attack on parliament.
"In the past year, India has made a full-scale retreat from its previous principled rejection of the death penalty," said Ms Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch.